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[bahy-uh s] /ˈbaɪ əs/
an oblique or diagonal line of direction, especially across a woven fabric.
a particular tendency or inclination, especially one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question; prejudice.
Statistics. a systematic as opposed to a random distortion of a statistic as a result of sampling procedure.
Lawn Bowling.
  1. a slight bulge or greater weight on one side of the ball or bowl.
  2. the curved course made by such a ball when rolled.
Electronics. the application of a steady voltage or current to an active device, as a diode or transistor, to produce a desired mode of operation.
a high-frequency alternating current applied to the recording head of a tape recorder during recording in order to reduce distortion.
cut, set, folded, etc., diagonally:
This material requires a bias cut.
in a diagonal manner; obliquely; slantingly:
to cut material bias.
verb (used with object), biased, biasing or (especially British) biassed, biassing.
to cause partiality or favoritism in (a person); influence, especially unfairly:
a tearful plea designed to bias the jury.
Electronics. to apply a steady voltage or current to (the input of an active device).
on the bias,
  1. in the diagonal direction of the cloth.
  2. out of line; slanting.
1520-30; < Middle French biais oblique < Old Provençal, probably < Vulgar Latin *(e)bigassius < Greek epikársios oblique, equivalent to epi- epi- + -karsios oblique
Related forms
subbias, noun
superbias, noun
2. predisposition, preconception, predilection, partiality, proclivity; bent, leaning. Bias, prejudice mean a strong inclination of the mind or a preconceived opinion about something or someone. A bias may be favorable or unfavorable: bias in favor of or against an idea. Prejudice implies a preformed judgment even more unreasoning than bias, and usually implies an unfavorable opinion: prejudice against a race. 9. predispose, bend, incline, dispose.
2. impartiality. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for biases
  • Add to that the idea that interpretation of events in the past are often colored by the historian's own biases.
  • The goal is to mix ideas from different angles and without traditional biases and see what happens.
  • Some people will be upset and uncomfortable when they become aware of their prejudices and biases.
  • They are fruit of the previous year's reporting by the editors, and they inevitably reflect our emphases and biases.
  • But wearing your biases on your sleeve doesn't mean you don't have them.
  • Early studies tend to have small samples with various selection biases.
  • The placebo group is used to attempt to avoid confounding factors and biases in the subjects or the researchers.
  • Anyone alone would bring in his or her own biases and limitations.
  • In a perfect world this process would work, but scientists have huge biases and can be bought off as easily as anyone else.
  • Test your implicit biases about race and other issues.
British Dictionary definitions for biases


mental tendency or inclination, esp an irrational preference or prejudice
a diagonal line or cut across the weave of a fabric
(electronics) the voltage applied to an electronic device or system to establish suitable working conditions
  1. a bulge or weight inside one side of a bowl
  2. the curved course of such a bowl on the green
  1. an extraneous latent influence on, unrecognized conflated variable in, or selectivity in a sample which influences its distribution and so renders it unable to reflect the desired population parameters
  2. if T is an estimator of the parameter θ, the expected value of (T–θ)
an inaudible high-frequency signal used to improve the quality of a tape recording
slanting obliquely; diagonal a bias fold
obliquely; diagonally
verb (transitive) -ases, -asing, -ased, -asses, -assing, -assed
(usually passive) to cause to have a bias; prejudice; influence
Derived Forms
biased, biassed, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Old French biais, from Old Provençal, perhaps ultimately from Greek epikarsios oblique
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for biases
1520s, from Fr. biais "slant, oblique," also figuratively, "expedient, means" (13c., in O.Fr. "sideways, askance, against the grain"), from O.Prov. biais, with cognates in Old Catalan and Sardinian; possibly from V.L. *(e)bigassius, from Gk. epikarsios "athwart, crosswise, at an angle," from epi- "upon" + karsios "oblique," from PIE *krs-yo-, from base *(s)ker- "to cut." A pp. adjective that became a noun in Old French. Transferred sense of "predisposition, prejudice" is from 1570s.
"[A] technical term in the game of bowls, whence come all the later uses of the word." [OED]
The verb is from 1620s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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